Kumaraswamy oath taking: Opposition bonhomie on display in show of strength by regional parties
Delhi and Andhra Pradesh chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu and CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury met before Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony in Bengaluru.india Updated: May 23, 2018 16:26 IST
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in has turned out to be a stage for opposition leaders to cosy up, have some chit-chat and work towards what one of them called “the development of the nation”.
A galaxy of opposition leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, arrived in Bengaluru on Wednesday for the event.
News agency ANI tweeted a photograph of Kejriwal, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu sharing a light moment.
Naidu, a friend-turned-foe of the BJP, said: “We want to express our solidarity. TDP (his Telugu Desam Party) is ready to go to the oath ceremony with Sonia Gandhi and (her son) Rahul Gandhi.”
Stressing the regional parties “ don’t fear anybody”, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said “we will keep in touch...so that we can work for the development of the nation”.
“If regional parties get together, they will have maximum strength. This is a simple thing that should be understood... It is said in Hindi that whoever will fight us will be destroyed (jo hamse takaraega wo choor choor ho jaega),” Banerjee said.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, an ally who has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, too was invited but he “politely declined” citing the campaigning for a bypoll in Maharashtra.
The event is being closely watched as a show of opposition unity against the Centre’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which emerged as the single largest party in Karnataka but was short of majority.
The Congress, which ruled the southern state, reached out to former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s JD(S), a regional powerhouse, after the May 15 results to form the government.
Yechury, NCP’s Sharad Pawar and Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav, a former CM of Uttar Pradesh, too were in Bengaluru for the Kumaraswamy government’s inauguration.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Ajit Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal and Tejaswi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, among others, too have been invited.
Earlier in the day, Deve Gowda’s son, Kumaraswamy, 58, prayed at a hill temple of Hindu goddess Chamundeshwari in Mysuru ahead of taking oath as Karnataka’s 25th CM.
The BJP, which has termed the Congress-JD(S) alliance “unholy” and claims the government will not complete its full term, observed what it called “Anti-People’s Mandate Day”.
(with agency inputs)
First Published: May 23, 2018 16:08 IST